Letting a thousand flowers bloom in CSO engagement

Even democratic participation is pyramidical since millions of voices are usually gathered through a process of representatives.

However, civil society needs to ensure that the pyramidical approach does not create a practice of gatekeeping. Rather, multiplicity in practice should be fostered, where any and all civil society organisations (CSOs) can equally participate in all policy advocacy process, said Syeed Ahamed, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) at a “Consultation with Civil Society and other Stakeholders” on 19 February 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand.

He asserted that this is particularly important in the case of migration policy advocacy. Because the GCM (Global Compact for Migration) is being implemented under the auspicious of UN and the process of developing the compact is state-led. In both cases of the UN and state, there exist proper hierarchical structures, which comprise of very specific representatives with authority.

CSOs on the other hand, by their very nature, are independent of such direct and coalesced control and management. Thus, the civil society needs to be innovative while promoting partnerships and representations at regional, national and global levels.

Ahamed emphasized that we need to make sure that the participation of the civil society is democratic and ensures the representation of all CSOs so that all and any CSO can potentially join the movement.

He also pointed out that to ensure that CSO engagement is grounded, we also need to ensure empathetic listening of the migrants and the systematic local-level consultations.

The consultation was jointly organized by UN Network on Migration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Syeed Ahamed, Head of Secretariat organization of CGCM, was invited to the consultation to talk at the talk in the ‘Way Forward’ session, which was co-moderated by Laxman Basnet of South Asian Regional Trade Union Council and Pia Oberoi of OHCHR.